Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

Explore online colleges and universities in Washington, D.C. and learn what it will take to earn your degree.

Updated October 5, 2022

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Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

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Colleges in the State of Washington

Professionals in Washington often enroll in flexible online programs to advance their career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), higher levels of education correlate with higher median salaries and lower unemployment rates. Obtaining one of the most affordable online degrees in Washington can lead to advanced careers and financial stability.

A growing number of Washington residents hold a degree. The number of Washington residents with a bachelor's degree increased more than 80% from 2000-2018, according to the Office of Financial Management.

Many of the top colleges and universities in Washington offer online programs. Distance programs often appeal to students with busy schedules and those without easy access to campus. For students attending online college, Washington programs include fully online and hybrid options. In-state students typically pay reduced tuition rates.

This guide explores the best online colleges in Washington to help prospective students make an informed choice. By researching the best degree online in Washington for their field, professionals can find a program that fits their goals and budget.

FAQ About Colleges in Washington

How long does it take to earn an online degree?

Full-time students generally earn their online bachelor's degree in four years. Master's degrees and associate degrees often require two years.

What kinds of degrees can I earn online?

Online learners can pursue bachelor's and master's degrees in a variety of majors, including business, education, healthcare, liberal arts, and social services. Some colleges also offer associate and doctoral degree programs online.

Do I need to be a resident of Washington to study at an online school in Washington?

Online colleges in Washington enroll students from other states. Temporary residents who do not meet in-state tuition requirements can also attend online schools in Washington.

How long does it take to become an official resident of Washington for college?

Students must typically have lived in Washington for 12 months to qualify for in-state tuition rates. If students do not qualify for financial independence, their parent or guardian may need to meet in-state requirements.

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Best Online Colleges in Washington 2022



The following list ranks the best online colleges in Washington state. The ranking features high-quality, accredited institutions and includes some of the most affordable online degrees in Washington. Prospective students can use this list to find programs that fit their budget and career goals.

#1 Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Washington State University is a wise choice for students seeking flexible online study. Students near and far can join Washington State University's growing online learning community of 6,592 distance learners, across 54 remote programs.

The college supports 20 remote bachelor's programs and 12 remote master's programs. These programs connect students with classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Through coursework and experiential learning opportunities, learners gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their industry of choice. Degree-seekers can connect with academic advising, career services, and other resources to receive guidance throughout their studies.

Prospective students can schedule an appointment with the admissions office to inquire about degree requirements and application materials. To defray some of their educational expenses, students can speak with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities. Approximately 89% of all enrollees receive financial aid awards.

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,953
Out-of-state
$24,531
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
31,607
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom

  • Lakewood, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students from all walks of life can benefit from Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom's flexible online programs. The public college provides learning opportunities to 4,225 distance learners across three online programs.

Students attend remote lectures and learn alongside peers through a virtual classroom setting. Enrollees gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed after school by completing industry-relevant coursework, research, internships, and other learning opportunities. Degree candidates can connect with academic advising, career services, and other resources to receive guidance throughout their studies.

Before applying, prospective students should schedule an appointment with the admissions office to discuss application materials and degree requirements. The college reports that 52% of learners receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,636
Out-of-state
$4,078
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,195
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

Central Washington University

  • Ellensburg, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking flexible online study should consider Central Washington University. Degree-seekers can choose from 49 online degrees and join the school's 10,718-person online learning community.

Distance learners can choose from 25 online bachelor's programs and 17 online master's programs. These programs connect students with classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Degree candidates benefit from well-rounded curricula, completing foundational and advanced classes. Learners can also pursue experiential learning opportunities such as internships. Students can connect with academic advising, career services, and other resources throughout their studies.

To learn more about Central Washington University's degree requirements, interested applicants can meet with the admissions office. Students can also contact the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities, such as scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. The college reports that 90% of the student body receives financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,318
Out-of-state
$21,999
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
11,658
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

Peninsula College

  • Port Angeles, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Distance learners seeking a flexible online education should consider Peninsula College. Students near and far can join Peninsula College's growing online learning community of 1,067 distance learners, across 40 remote programs.

Upon enrolling, students connect with classmates, faculty, and staff through a virtual classroom setting. Degree-seekers can customize their coursework, select electives, and pursue experiential learning opportunities. The college connects enrollees with institutional resources geared towards student success, such as career services and academic advising.

Interested applicants can schedule a meeting with the Office of Admissions to discuss application materials, admission requirements, and other information. Eligible learners can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. The institution notes that 79% of incoming students receive some type of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,635
Out-of-state
$4,079
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,966
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 Most Affordable Online Colleges In Washington

Northwest University

  • Kirkland, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

From its main campus in Kirkland, Northwest University provides top-ranked online programs to 277 distance learners.

Enrollees can connect with classmates, faculty, and staff through a virtual classroom setting. Degree-seekers complete general and advanced coursework, with the option to modify classes and select major electives, minors, and concentrations. Students can connect with academic advising, career services, and other resources to receive guidance throughout their studies.

Prospective enrollees should meet with the admissions office to discuss application materials and admission requirements. The college makes internal and external funding opportunities available to students, with 98% of all enrollees receiving aid. Typically, 98% of incoming students receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,500
Out-of-state
$32,500
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
1,339
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Accreditation for Online Schools in Washington



Prospective online learners should ensure that each institution they consider holds proper accreditation. Regionally accredited colleges and universities meet the highest standards for educating students and awarding degrees.

Accreditation benefits students in several ways. Candidates for many professional licenses and certifications must hold a degree from an accredited school. Credits earned from accredited institutions transfer more easily to other colleges, and only learners at accredited institutions can qualify for federal student aid.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities grants regional accreditation to Washington institutions. The U.S. Department of Education maintains an online database of accredited schools and programs.

Why Study Online?

Learners often choose online programs because of their flexibility and affordability. Distance learning often benefits working professionals and learners with personal responsibilities. Additionally, many online programs allow students to control the pacing of their studies.

Online colleges in Washington also make higher education more accessible for residents of rural counties, such as Chelan County and Yakima County. Distance learning eliminates the need to relocate or commute long distances.

Finally, online programs are often more affordable than on-campus programs. Many schools offer discounted tuition rates for online students. Plus, distance learners typically save on costs associated with transportation and housing. Online students may also earn an income while completing their degree. Students who earn one of the best degrees online in Washington often increase their earning potential while meeting other obligations.

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